Rose Amal – In profile

Scientia Professor Rose Amal.Scientia Professor Rose Amal moved to Australia from Indonesia to study Chemical Engineering at UNSW. Today she heads up UNSW's Particles and Catalysis Research Laboratory.

Scientia Professor Rose Amal travelled to Australia in the early 1980s from her home town of Medan, eager to start her studies at UNSW Australia.

Fast forward three decades and she is now an Australian Laureate Fellow – heading up the Particles and Catalysis Research Laboratory at UNSW – developing revolutionary ways to use water and solar energy to recycle carbon dioxide into environmentally friendly fuels.

What does Rose say about her life at UNSW:


When I finished high school, I knew I wanted to go to Australia for my degree. I was considering Melbourne over Sydney, but UNSW accepted me directly into their Chemical Engineering program so I decided to go there.

Have you been at UNSW ever since?
Yes and no. After my Bachelor degree, I started my PhD at UNSW with a scholarship from the Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering. I then worked at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation for about 18 months before returning in 1992 to UNSW, where I’ve worked ever since.

How would you describe UNSW in less than 15 words?
A beautiful, student-friendly and modern campus with cutting-edge facilities and great people!

Do you miss Indonesia?
I do in a sense. I miss friends, relatives and Indonesian food, but because I’ve spent more than half of my life here I feel like Australia is my home now. Nowadays, with WhatsApp, Facebook and other social media, it’s much easier to stay connected.

Do you think you’ve had a lot more opportunities than you would’ve had if you’d stayed in Indonesia?
Yes, definitely. Australia is a country of opportunity; if you’re willing to work hard, you’ll always be able to achieve your goal.

What would you say to someone considering UNSW for their undergraduate or postgraduate degree?
You’ll find the environment and people to be very supportive – not just about your education, but also how you’re progressing as a person. That’s what I experienced when I was studying here.

Also, don’t worry too much about whether you’ve chosen the right degree or not. The skills you learn will stay with you for the rest of your career and can translate into many different fields. Just enjoy the journey and absorb as much knowledge as possible.

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